Boys volleyball: Newark East Side gets back on track, beats West Orange on the road

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Newark East Side’s beginnings were rocky. The Red Raiders, ranked No. 10 in NJ.com’s Top 20, stacked their schedule early on against other ranked opponents. After a 1-4 start in the standings, Newark East Side are starting to find their groove, knocking out West Orange in straight sets (25-17, 25-23) on the road on Thursday for their second straight win.

“Going into the season with a target on our back was something completely new for us. We knew there would be high expectations, and when we didn’t produce we took it to heart,” said said Newark East Side head coach Alana Aranjo.

“My goal in scheduling these tough games against the best teams in the state was to make us better in the long run.”

Senior outside hitter Brian Tenesaca led the way for Newark East Side (3-4) with a season-high nine kills, alongside six digs and an ace. After a stellar junior campaign last year, Tenesaca has 26 kills and 37 digs in the team‘s first seven games.

“Brian is one of the most deceptively good players I’ve ever coached. He’s so good at reading the pitch and scoring points. We really need him to keep going if we’re going to keep our run going,” said Aranjo.

Senior Jeykof Paredes has found himself involved in the action more often in the past two contests. In the first five games of the spring, he racked up 11 assists. In the Red Raiders’ last two wins, he’s gone for 10 against East Orange, then a season-high 12 in Thursday’s win.

“Jeykof is 100% our most improved player and has basically played all positions for us. he will find a way to make it work,” Aranjo said.

Victor De Souza also played a key role, producing four kills, two blocks, six digs and four aces. For the season, he now has 51 kills and 29 digs.

“Victor has been a big part of our success today and every day. His athleticism and character are second to none and everyone will hear a lot more about him soon enough,” Aranjo said.

His two blocks were also among seven overall for a feisty Newark East Side team.

Newark East Side’s Victor De Souza (9) had another impressive game against West Orange on Thursday.Tom Horak | For NJ Advance Media

“West Orange are very well trained and they play very good net volleyball. I was impressed that we were able to block like that, considering their midfield is one of the best we’ve seen so far.

The defeat is the first of the season for West Orange, falling to 2-1. The Mountaineers return to play April 8 against Newark Collegiate at home.

Newark East Side will next play Belleville on the road on April 8.

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PJ Potter can be contacted at PPotter@njadvancemedia.com.

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